July 24, 2024

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ICYMI: Experts Agree: Chips Manufacturing and National Security Bolstered by Childcare

ICYMI: Experts Agree: Chips Manufacturing and National Security Bolstered by Childcare
ICYMI: Experts Agree: Chips Manufacturing and National Security Bolstered by ChildcareThis week Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo marked a major milestone in the implementation of the CHIPS and Science Act, part of President Biden’s Invest in America agenda which will help rebuild our manufacturing and supply chains here at home and strengthen our national security. The Commerce Department released the notice of funding opportunity laying out the guardrails...

This week Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo marked a major milestone in the implementation of the CHIPS and Science Act, part of President Biden’s Invest in America agenda which will help rebuild our manufacturing and supply chains here at home and strengthen our national security. The Commerce Department released the notice of funding opportunity laying out the guardrails for companies applying to make major investments in the semiconductor industry in America, including a novel requirement that recipients craft a program tailored to the location to provide child care for all of their workers.
 
President Biden will continue to push for increased access to affordable child care for all Americans, one of the most important things we can do as a country to strengthen our workforce and ensure families can get ahead. But nowhere is that more important than in the locations where massive new investments in chips manufacturing are being made. As experts broadly agreed, the Commerce announcement is a common-sense approach to the imperative of increasing our workforce, and in turn for fulfilling the national security imperative of manufacturing chips here in America.

EXPERT ANALYSIS
 
Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS): CHIPS, Childcare, and National Security
“It is important to understand Commerce’s guidance on requiring semiconductor companies seeking CHIPS funding to provide workers access to childcare in this context. It is not, as some have wrongly argued, an issue of social policy. It is a pragmatic move, clearly aligned with the nation’s security interests, to grow the workforce necessary to get the fabs built and producing the chips on which our country runs. In past crises, we relied heavily on women to augment the nation’s workforce. In today’s world, reliable and affordable childcare is a valuable step forward to a more numerous, more diverse, and more effective high-tech workforce.” [CSIS, 3/1/23]
 
Bipartisan Policy Center: “A lack of affordable child care is a real problem in the U.S., experts agree. Across the country, there are simply too few child care providers for every family who needs them, the Bipartisan Policy Center found. The lack of child care is keeping up to millions of people out of the work force, experts said. The chief executive of one chip manufacturer told CNBC that affordable child care has been a significant barrier to finding workers.” [New York Times, 2/27/23]
 
Joseph Stiglitz, Economics Professor, Columbia University: “Lack of childcare is a significant barrier to labor force participation. Policies like these have the potential to increase the pool of available workers, a win for our economy.” [Tweet, 2/28/23] 
 
Kathryn Anne Edwards, Economist, RAND Corporation: “Need workers? You need child care.”  [Tweet, 2/27/23]  
 
Sharita Gruberg, Vice President, National Partnership for Women & Families: “The Biden Administration knows work family supports like #childcare are essential to securing America’s role as a leader in technology and manufacturing.” [Tweet, 2/27/23]
 
Julie Kashen, Director, The Century Foundation: “Building care infrastructure into industrial infrastructure is the best way to ensure that these good jobs that have been created have people to work in them. Today’s announcement from @SecRaimondo is a strong example of showing how industrial policy can include the #childcare needs of the diverse, future workforce, which in turn meets the workforce needs of the companies involved. A win for all.” [Tweet, 2/27/23]
 
Institute for Women’s Policy Research: “Access to quality, affordable child care helps to open doors for so many workers, especially women. Good to see this taking priority as new spending ramps up!” [Tweet, 2/27/23]
 
North America’s Building Trades Unions (NABTU): “Big News: Today, @CommerceGov announced that semiconductor manufacturers seeking federal subsidies must provide child care for its workers This is HUGE for the recruitment and retention of #BuildingTrades members on these mega projects.” [Tweet, 2/28/23] 
 
Aaron Sojourner, former CEA chief economist: “Lack of child care access can reinforce gender inequities in the labor market and stifle parental labor supply. The market alone does not magically solve this. Public subsidy $ can make access to jobs more equitable.” [Tweet, 3/2/23]
 
OPINION LEADERS
 
Felicia Wong, President and CEO, Roosevelt Institute: “And what I think is so remarkable about the way that Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo envisions this whole effort is that it’s yes, sure, it’s about the bridges, it’s about the semiconductor fabs, but it’s actually about much more than that. She’s saying that the vision is an America that is a technological leader in the world. And she’s saying that the vision is having whole places in America — could be places that have been left out for a very long time, you know, deindustrialized, hasn’t seen very much investment — she is actually explicitly envisioning places in America that, sure they have those bridges, they have those factories, but they also have thriving families, thriving communities, people with good jobs. So that’s how you have to measure the outcome here.” [Marketplace, 3/3/23]
 
Sarah Green Carmichael, Opinion Editor, Bloomberg: “So it’s welcome news that the Biden administration is seeking creative ways to make things just a little bit easier for working parents. On Tuesday, the administration announced that to qualify for federal subsidies under the Chips Act, semiconductor manufacturers will have to guarantee affordable, high-quality child care for workers …. The economy grows when more people enter the labor force. And a lack of things like affordable child care, paid parental leave and universal pre-kindergarten have for years discouraged workers — especially women — from contributing to their full capacity. That’s a drag on the economy as a whole, but Congress has lacked the will to do much about it. It isn’t just would-be working parents who suffer. It’s employers, too, when they struggle to hire or retain workers.” [Bloomberg, 2/28/23]
 
Binyamin Appelbaum, Editorial Board Member, New York Times: “In a promising development, the administration said Tuesday that semiconductor companies applying for new federal subsidies must ensure that child care is available and affordable for the workers who build and operate their factories. This is a principle that ought to be expanded to other corporate recipients of federal handouts — and to the other components of a basic set of benefits that ought to be standard for workers in the United States.” [New York Times, 3/1/23]
 
Hayes Brown, Opinion Writer/Editor, MSNBC: “That’s all hugely important both from a labor and workers’ rights perspective and, more broadly, for American industry. Child care is prohibitively expensive for many workers, especially for lower-income workers who sometimes have to choose between missing shifts or making sure their children are safe. Even before the pandemic, parents who could afford child care were often finding that there weren’t enough child care options available … The lack of affordable child care is a drag on business owners as well. ‘Half of all workers and nearly 60% of parents cite lack of childcare as their reason for leaving the workforce,’ a U.S. Chamber of Commerce report found last year. In this tight labor market, you’d assume that companies want all the help they can get to recruit and retain workers.” [MSNBC, 3/1/23]
 
PRESS CLIPS
 
New York Times: To Tap Federal Funds, Chip Makers Will Need to Provide Child Care
“Gina Raimondo, the Commerce secretary, said in an interview that the child-care requirements should help companies cope with a tight labor market by making it easier for them to attract and retain caregivers who have been kept from working by difficulties finding care for their children … Only about 3 in 10 U.S. manufacturing workers are women. Ms. Raimondo said the CHIPS Act would fail if the administration did not help companies change those numbers, by bringing in women who have children. ‘You will not be successful unless you find a way to attract, train, put to work and retain women, and you won’t do that without child care,’ Ms. Raimondo said in an interview.”
 
Axios: Chip makers must provide child care plan for fund access  
“Chip makers who want access to billions of dollars in new federal funding will first have to figure out how workers will access affordable child care, per a new requirement from the Commerce Department. Why it matters: Parents, particularly women, can’t go to work if they can’t find child care — a problem that’s only grown more acute, first in the pandemic and now in the tight labor market. Driving the news: The move is a clear acknowledgement from the administration that child care issues are intertwined with the economy and employment … What they’re saying: The Commerce department said this was a necessary step to take, considering how low unemployment is in the regions looking to build plants. And child care support is a way to draw more workers into the labor market.” 
 
CNN: Biden administration launches new semiconductor push amid ‘very heated global competition with China’ 
“’We simply will not be successful in achieving the national security goals of the CHIPS initiative unless we invest in our workforce, period. Full stop,’ Raimondo said. ‘For decades, we’ve taken our eye off the ball with manufacturing, which means the worker supply of people with the skills to do super technical manufacturing has withered. And so, we need to be honest about that, but also embrace it as an opportunity to come up with creative solutions.’ To that end, the Commerce Department is asking every company vying for a share of the $39 billion in direct funding for semiconductor manufacturing to develop and outline plans for how they plan to build a skilled and diverse workforce, including by working with high schools and community colleges.”  

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Official news published at https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/statements-releases/2023/03/08/icymi-experts-agree-chips-manufacturing-and-national-security-bolstered-by-childcare/